Styling your wedding
WORDS BY Danette Burr + PHOTOGRAPHY BY David Stubbs

I am always styling. Whether I am working professionally on a wedding, a photo shoot, a client’s house, or simply creating my children’s Sunday dinner, arranging and making experiences beautiful just comes naturally. So, when my husband, John, asked me to marry him a few years ago, of course my head started spinning with ideas on how to make our wedding day perfect.

Deciding on a location and date were our first big decisions. September in Jackson can be unpredictable as far as the weather is concerned, but we chose Sept-ember 1 because fall is our favorite season in the valley and surrounding national parks. The elk start to bugle, the leaves turn color, and summer comes to an end. To both my husband and me, September always feels like a celebration.

Photo by Ashley Merritt

Although there are many romantic locations in Jackson, we chose Signal Mountain Lodge because of the hotel’s camp-style charm and rustic lake setting. Both of us envisioned an outdoor wedding along Jackson Lake, where we have spent summers sailing with friends and family.

Signal Mountain’s lakeside cabins, appointed with primitive furnishings and creaky floors, made charming, informal places for friends and family to stay and served as a central location for dressing for the wedding. We also knew if bad weather moved in, we could huddle under the covered cabin decks and continue our celebration.

Once we decided on the site, I was free to work on the look and feel of the day. Being a wedding stylist, imagining my own wedding was a cinch.

I knew the beauty of the day would be in the fun, personal accents. Early in the planning phase, John and I sat down and made a list of the details we wanted to incorporate into the celebration, which is something I recommend for all couples. Because of my business and my own inclination for collecting beautiful, old things, I had access to loads of unique props to enhance the already nostalgic western environment at Signal Mountain Lodge.

We decided on a lakeside ceremony and a casual picnic-style lunch. We exchanged our vows inside a driftwood heart. Kids and guests made wishes and skipped stones into the lake. Red and white plaid camp chairs and a driftwood teepee for the kids decorated the shoreline. From a nearby balcony, pictures of us as children hung from a ribbon.

For our picnic-style lunch we chose vintage tablecloths, washtubs full of drinks, and unique buckets of flowers. We placed the cake on a small table under a tent. I embroidered a favorite quote, “Once in awhile in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives you a fairytale,” on the cake tablecloth. We framed other favorite quotes and placed them on tables next to flowers in vintage vases.

Photo by Ashley Merritt

John and I agreed to include the talents of friends and family members in our wedding celebration. We wanted to make everyone a part of our special day. I have always believed that when creating something, whether an event or a business, having a good team is essential. I feel my creativity thrives when I am collaborating with other talented individuals. And, in a wedding situation, creative friends, family members, and professionals can truly enhance the experience.

On one of our first dates, John and I shared a delicious jar of his mom’s homemade peaches, so we asked his mom and sister to bottle peaches for our guests. At the party, one hundred pint-size jars of peaches, labeled with tags that said “Love is Sweet,” filled a vintage wheelbarrow.
John’s sisters adorned the cabins with a homemade garland of fabric flags. His sister, Hilary, designed another, larger flag for the top of our sailboat. The flag, decorated with the sewn words “Happily Ever After,” floated in sight of the ceremony.

Finally, John and I wanted to give something to friends and family. We delivered gift baskets to our family members’ rooms. Groomsmen received antique hankies I embroidered with “Cheers” and the wedding date. I made a special hankie for John’s mom with the words, “Thank you for raising the man of my dreams.”

Everything I have told brides in the past was true for me. Pick a meaningful location; include personal details; get help from friends, family members, and professionals; and remember to give meaningful gifts. That day, I stepped back for a moment and gave myself some new advice. Relax into the setting. Everyone is there to celebrate the two of you. Do not fuss over the little things. Just be! Enjoy yourselves and your guests. Cherish the memories, even if some of your plans did not work. In the end, people remember the feel of the celebration and the bride and groom’s joy.

Advice From A Professional Sylist
Photo by Ashley Merritt

•Pick a meaningful location.
•Ask for help from family members, friends, and professionals. Incorporate their specific talents and let them shine.
•Select personal details that highlight you as individuals and as a couple (i.e., quotes, photos, traditions).
•Use props—like furniture, flower containers, meaningful objects—to help create the ambiance you envision.
•Remember to give thoughtful gifts.
•Have a backup plan for inclement weather.
•Wear comfortable shoes or have an extra pair for after the ceremony. (There is nothing worse than wearing the wrong shoes!)
•Remember to relax and be in the moment, even if some of your plans do not work out. Don’t worry; your guests are there to celebrate YOU!
•Try not to stress; this is your day!

Danette Burr owns and operates Style Jackson Hole, a Jackson Hole production company specializing in location scouting, styling, and prop rental. Whether you are imagining a wedding or a photo shoot, she can create something beautiful. For more information, visit her website at To contact Danette, call 307/690-5406 or e-mail

Share This Story With Friends